T Nation

The Truth About Leg Extension


I am a fan of this exercise, but not after I read this aarticle.


Do any of you experienced guys have opinions? This article raises a second question. What about leg curls for the hamstrings? Would the effects be similar? I honestly don't understand half the words they were saying in the risks department but it damn sure got into my head that they weren't at all good and surely didn't help that it only had 1 benefit. So should I just drop leg extention?


Well going along those lines, all isolation movements "suck." So that means no bicep curls, tricep extentions of any kind, ham curls calf raises, lateral raises.

Every excercise has it's place. Even Tom Platz used leg extensions. Enough for me.


It would seem kinda neglegent to skip over these to me also. They seem like an important exercise for quads.


That article just wanted to "rock the boat" and nothing more. Squats and leg presses are better, of course, but I've always had great results with leg extensions and nary an injury.

A good rule of thumb with ANY movement is that if it hurts, doesn't feel comfortable, or always injures you, don't do it. If it doesn't hurt now or later, do it. Let the ravages of old age, not theoretical articles, dictate whether you stop doing a movement.


Concentrate on compound lifts and supplement with isolation. As long as you are getting the big lifts, there is no reason not to train your muscles a little harder.


I agree they can have their place, but I still have nightmares where I see Yates doing monstrously heavy drop sets of leg extensions. Who's gonna argue with a multiple Olympia winner, but most people wouldn't survive that unscathed for long. I occasionally do em light after a leg workout, maybe curls too, but it's not a movement anybody couldn't live without.


Obviously you havent thought this out well. Bicep curls, hamstring curls, lateral raises all occur in some way or form in normal life. The only time you extend your leg (open chain) against resistance is when swimming. That is it. The leg extension motion is also used when kicking, but I would argue that this is more a momentus leg swing as a whole by the hip flexors and not so much a leg extension. Nevertheless, that joint is not made to handle the highest load while in the position with the most torque. Biceps especially, and delts to a lesser degree are designed specifically for that purpose.


Never bounced a kid on your foot? But you are right. It is not a movement used in sports or everyday life.


Leg extensions are a great exercise! If you're an athlete, they may not be necessary or recommended, but if you're a bodybuilder or looking to improve your quads, leg extensions are a useful addition.

Just don't forget to do your squats, deadlifts and other compound lifts.


Well, sometimes it's impossible to do normal squats (such as after an injury). Then you have to make do with whatever your body can tolerate: leg extensions, 1-leg squats, etc. Then you discover that leg extensions are maybe not the greatest, but OK.


I have been doing leg extensions for 20 years without any problems. Occasionally I use them as a primary leg exercise utilizing heavy weight and low reps. But more often than not I use them to warm up my legs or after a heavy squat/leg press session. If they don't hurt your knees then continue using them.


I do leg extensions and my legs are big. In fact I do them first in every leg workout.

Is it a natural every day movement? No. Do my legs look like a natural everyday occurance? HELL no.


You have a few different ideals here.

The bodybuilder ideal.

My co-worker says he doesnt care if he can only bench press 5lbs as long as he can balance a glass of water on his upper chest.

If this is your mentality and you juice then obviously you dont have the highest regard for anything about your body other than the way it looks. Now this is not the mentality of everyone who does leg extensions, but a decent chunk I would guess. And further, people who do not think this way, for the most part probably make up a good chunk of those who do not like to do leg extensions.

The athletic ideal. Man I want a body that works. I want to be able to do handsprings, have a high vertical, be able to dunk, all that stuff. And its not even the fact that leg extensions would necessarily hurt my ability to do these things but that as great and amazing as all of those above abilities are, leg extensions are the most watered down castrated version of physical activity I can think of. But leg curls? Thats a different story.


Ding Ding Ding we have a winner.


Shadowzz4 I think you are being a little cynical with your view on bodybuilders to say that the vast majority don't care about strength or their health and that they juice.


Scott, repost that picture of Skip here for me.


I'm sorry, I thought this was the "BODYBUILDING" forum...

...apparently it's the "back handspring" forum?


redrum you are quickly becoming one of my favorite posters here


seconded. Its nice to have some bodybuilders post in the bodybuilding forum.

Redrum, you must be incredibly genetically gifted to naturally just have a lat spread like that since we all know that lat size is purely genetic.



Ha, thanks bro, but it's a genetic/leg Extension combo that I credit for my lat spread. That's right when you are using incredible weight on leg extension the lats just blow up as you hang on for dear life!!